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  1. #1
    Registered User jbriley's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
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    Tulsa, Oklahoma
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    21

    Unhappy Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma: part of the "Heartland." As cities go, it is small and many people are quite traditional in most aspects of life. But, just like the rest of the country, children and adults both would prefer to watch a movie, or play on the Wii versus scattering a few tiny spheres on the floor and playing a age-old game. I read here in one of the forum threads that there is going to be a marbles convention in Tulsa this month. Until I read that, I thought I was the only one in Oklahoma who enjoyed marbles at all. But even here, in this highly traditional state, tell someone you enjoy collecting, or God forbid, playing marbles, and they look at you like you have corn growing out of your ears. To most people, marbles is simply an antiquated game which no longer has a place in society.

    But knowing now that there are many people who collect marbles throughout the United States, and a very few places that still have marble tournaments, I am wondering if there is any hope for the game to recover...somewhat. I have no illusions, no expectations to see local parks littered with children playing marbles, knuckles and knees covered in dirt. But it would be nice to have a few more communities where marbles tournaments are held, or groups of people meet to play and trade.

    I have thought long and hard about trying to arrange something myself, via that MeetUp web site, or trying to organize something through forums such as this one. But I am a tad socially awkward, so convincing a group of people to talk about and play marbles would only be possible on a fistful of Xanax. But most people do not have my neurosis. Why is it that there are so many of us that enjoy collecting marbles, but so few communities where children and adults can find a place to PLAY marbles. Sure, a couple of people may arrange from time-to-time to meet somewhere and shoot a game, but with marbles flailing popularity, it would be nice to see a few more publicized events out there. Not only would this give more enthusiasts the chance to actually shoot marbles, but it would introduce marbles to a whole new segment of society that may otherwise not even be aware that they are still collected, played and loved by millions throughout the world.

    For me, marbles are more than just beautiful glass/stone spheres to be collected, placed on a shelf and looked at. They represent people gathering together to play, to interact with one another, to laugh, to enjoy the outdoors. I have two children, one 10, the other one year old. The 10-year-old will play on occasion. The one-year-old would LOVE to get his grubby little hands on my marbles and stuff them into his mouth. Time to call 911. The baby actually shows quite a bit more interest in spheres in general, so I think there may be hope for him. But with more options than just Dad to play with, I think both of them would really enjoy playing and collecting.

    It is just such a wonderful game, and there are so many beautiful marbles out there, both machine and handmade. I just hate to see them become less and less popular every year. Anyone else thought about organizing local events to actually PLAY marbles, or do people only enjoy collecting?

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Jul 2012
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    3

    Re: Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    Dear Tulsa Marble Visionary: I read with GREAT interest about your idea of re-invigorating the fun of playing marbles. I live in Kansas City so we aren't that far away. I just completed writing and publishing of a new book, Collecting Marbles: A Beginner's Guide, which has opened up a whole new world for me. At book signing you would not believe the number of children and parents who want to learn how to play marbles. At Old Shawnee Days a few weeks ago, my wife and I taught 250 children the old game of Ringer-in the dirt, 1920 style with old slag marbles.
    Now I am in stealth mode to figure out how to build a portable playing ring that I can take to schools, community centers, parks, boys and girls clubs, camps……and show children how to play marbles. At other events ( flea market and an antique show), I had trouble finding a level surface for beginners so I really need some ideas on how to build a portable platform –ideal dimensions, materials, surface covering and capable of fitting in the trunk of my car!
    Lets keep beating the drum!
    Rich Maxwell, www.marblekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Minnesota, Isanti
    Posts
    19

    Re: Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    I think it would be awesome, if a group or club could put on marble tournaments in key cities.

    I have also been tossing the idea around in my head of building a collapsible type of marble table, for the game of ringer. It may have to be slightly smaller than a ten foot diameter circle. I was thinking hinged plywood, maybe covered with foam core (poster backing) and then a felt pad, or indoor outdoor carpet with the markings painted on. I would add a short barrier around the edge to catch out of bound shots.

    My idea was to have this raised for older players, (adults) and an entry fee that would equate to a prize.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator lstmmrbls's Avatar
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    Jan 2000
    Location
    Vallejo CA
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    65
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    14,219

    Re: Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    You may want to check with Boy Scouts-Cub Scouts. I believe they still have a badge for marble playing. I have donated many marbles to a couple troops around the country in the last 10 years.
    CACs make me smile, Galen

  5. #5
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Location
    NY, NY
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    49
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    4,781

    Re: Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    The Cub Scouts do have the marbles badge, which they can get for learning the game, and showing the troop how toplay. There is also a collecting badge they can get by building a marble collection. We sell marbles every single day for play. We sell to schools and the scouts, camps and other youth groups. We've been in business for 16 years, and every year we sell more. I like to think that we are partly responsible for any resurgance there may be in marble play. Don't mean to toot my own horn, but there is not a lot of places to get marbles anymore, and our selection is amazing, if I don't say so myself. I have gone to great lengths to bring an ever-expanding range of marbles to market. People tell me all the time that my site inspired them to play and collect, simply because it opened up a whole new world of choice.

    22.31% of our sales are to California, 6.34% is to NY, 5.43% is to Texas, 4.9% is to Michigan, 4.53% is to Florida and 56.5% is to All Others. Marbles are most popular with Spanish Americans, and much of the sales in California and Texas are to immigrants from Mexico.

    Ever since I got into marbles I was struck by the concern the game was disappearing. I started LandOfMarbles.com because I hoped I could promote marble playing, knowing that players grow up to collect - I wanted to continue to enjoy the hobby, that so many thought was dying out.

    Just thought this might interest some...

  6. #6
    M.A.P.P.maker
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Walla Walla County
    Posts
    1

    Re: Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    You got my juices flowing with your post, so I joined and you are the first to be replied to.
    My name is David Nesteby. I live in Dixie, Washington State. Dixie is a small community about 9 miles east of Walla Walla. I am 47 years old and I am a Marble Legend. I say this because, I have been playing marbles my whole life. As a kid, we played 'hot pot' and that was the ultimate game of shot skill.
    As an adult who has 5 grown kids, the youngest though is a teen still, I had alot of enterntainment issues to deal with as they were growing up. The Boys had to have boys over, and since there is over an acre here, we built marble pits and created games based off of Hot Pot, which was a legend game where you made up your own rules.
    I began in 2001 with an idea to manifest hotpot into a more exotic game targetting young adults. For the record, the game was a hit and as it stands this very moment, we play almost every weekend . Right now, we are playing in a sheltered tight space due to weather, but the WORLDS MOST FANTASTIC MARBLE PIT AND TOURNAMENT FIELD is underway on the top tiered portion of my property. This spring, we will have a proffessional pit directly next to the historic Dixie School where we intend to hold a FREE INVITE to any player in the world that wants to challenge the legends of M.M.A.P.
    As it stands, I have three sponsors, and we are in the stages of putting this tournament together. I am also focussed on making this small town the HUB of the Pacific North West professional marble challenges based on MMAP gameplay. We have over thirty versions of our game MMAP which stands for Master Marble Arena Play that we are working on for our product libne we hope to have out there some day soon. For now I work on the official MMAP rule book, hopefully in print very soon. We hope someday other clubs challenge us and it becomes a big event and the official pro way to play. Legend who play this game can be compared to golf stars, billiard stars, sports stars, skateboarders, trickster,s etc. Just like BMX, this sport loves dirt and what dirt can do.
    One way we play is a HOT POT version where the hot pot known as the GATE and three Death Pots are the focus of the game. You can teleport and terminate people from the game, deducing the 5 lives they start with until they are gone. We also have terms like Assassinations, Quincy, Accidental death, Spare lives, and the 5 lives of reign. I am currently working on a rules and regulations for this type of game play with blue print maps you can collect for the games design and additions. One of our pits is pretty dramatic and we experiment with terrain and obstacle conditions in factoring in difficulty to the game our large group of adults and teens like to play. We are addicted and have been since 2001. It was about ten years ago though that we discovered ways to create special powers and spells to add to the game. Some call us a cult because we play for hours on end and we do once in a while experiment with recognition of skills, shot types, feats, etc. all FASCETS OF THE GAME THAT ARE ELEMENTS FOR PROFFESIONAL SPORTS. GOLF AND BILLIARDS CAN BE SEEN IN OUR GAMES.
    We also created a marble golf game using horse shoes as the greens with indication colors to determine green score in a game we call Marble Golf. This too is in the works, a full 18 holes.
    So, don't think that there are not people interested in creating a federation or backing yor motivations. We are working now on our first official invite that will be a food drive , meaning we are going to offer free participation with food donations we can give to our local food banks in Walla Walla. If all goes well, I will be posting a date very soon. We are projecting for mid June.I am working on finding prize donations and sponsors willing to help us make it worth while for those willing to travel. I hope all goes well and would love to have others become part of it. Mid June would be perfect.
    I am game to being part of any movement to make this a national pro sport...if you know what i mean. I am not trying to promote the game as much as the style of play. I am down for it becoming a shared entity as a sport. We could easily as a gathering of peoples go very big with this in a fast way. We are also working on a youtube idea called MARBLE LEGENDS. I will keep you updated . Though I don't travel much, I do hope some day to meet as many marble players as i can meet. I hope someday we all compete for the big shot trophy!
    Ps. Do you like the idea of TEAM marble play and leagues? Open for ideas how to start some clubs that challenge each other once a year in an event beyond a simple tournament.
    If anyone has ever heard of such things as double kill, triple kill, cleaning house and vortex multiples, then they would like playing a terrain skilled game like the one we play. I hope someday it becomes big with everyone. I am a dreamer, but I keep going forward with the idea. Maybe this will be the year if all goes well. I am also down for any ideas how to get all the vendors, players, web owners, etc together to form one large event where all the styles can be discovered through out the states. Maybe some central US location there is someone who dreams like me....

  7. #7
    Senior Member That Girl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,799

    Re: Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    That's good news. Thanks for sharing!

  8. #8
    Super Moderator lstmmrbls's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Vallejo CA
    Age
    65
    Posts
    14,219

    Re: Marbles: Will we ever play again?

    I only ever played ringer and have no idea how you play your game but anything involving marbles will only lead to some future collectors. So I wish you all the luck I can to keep up your movement!!
    CACs make me smile, Galen

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